“Dat mule uh yourn, Matt. You better go see ‘bout him. He’s bad off…. De womenfolks got yo’ mule. When ah come round de lake ‘bout noontime mah wife and some others had ‘im flat on the ground usin’ his sides fuh uh washboard.” The great clap of laughter that they have been holding in, bursts out.
“Jody, dat wuz a mighty fine thing fuh you tuh do. ‘Tain’t everybody would have thought of it, ‘cause it ain’t no everyday thought. Freein’ dat mule makes uh mighty big man outa you. Something like George Washington and Lincoln…. You have tuh have power tuh free things and that makes you lak uh king uh something.”
Out in the swamp they made great ceremony over the mule. They mocked everything human in death. Starks led off with a great eulogy on our departed citizen, our most distinguished citizen and the grief he left behind him, and the people love the speech. It made him more solid than building the schoolhouse had done.
She wasn’t petal-open anymore with him. She was twenty-four and seven years married when she knew. She found that our one day when he slapped her face in the kitchen. It happened over one of those dinners that chasten all women sometimes…. [H]e slapped Janie until she had a ringing sound in her ears…
“Sometimes God gits familiar wid us womenfolks too and talks his inside business. He told me how surprised He was ‘bout y’all turning out so smart after him makin’ yuh different; and how surprised y’all is going tuh be if you ever find out don’t know half as much ‘bout us as you think you do. It’s so easy to make yo’self out God Almighty when you ain’t got nothin’ tuh strain against but women and chickens.”